Absolute LiabilityBook marketingCharlotte CollinspublishingPublishing Fear Freeself-publishingSouthern Fraud Series

Numbers: July

Warning: Math Ahead

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time as an indie publisher, it’s that some people love hearing numbers, and other people become upset by them. I’m not bragging or complaining about sales or profits here; I’m providing data so others can choose how they want to price their books. If you do not care for this type of post, avert your eyes now.


Charlotte Collins Sale: Inconclusive
In mid-June, I put Charlotte Collins on a limited-time sale at $0.99. This was supposed to last only 30 days, but due to some technical glitches, it ran longer. This happened to correspond exactly with a major overall slowdown of all ebook sales. According to my sources, things dropped for everyone by about 15 percent. This means I can’t accurately compare the May and June numbers. I’ll need to compare my June and July numbers to tell you for sure if it was worth it.

My gut says that the numbers are not going to work out. In order to make as much money, I have to sell six times more books at $.99 as I do at $2.99. I don’t think that’ll happen, and I’m guessing that’s because Charlotte is in a niche market of a niche market. However, I don’t regret the sale because it kept me on the Regency Romance Top 100 list during the sales slowdown, giving me more exposure to readers.

Absolute Liability Launch: Success
I decided to use an aggressive launch strategy with Absolute Liability by combining a low introductory price ($0.99) with 4 major marketing pushes. My goal was bulk sales to help break the book into the competitive thriller genre and get it to show up on some genre bestsellers lists if possible. This was a huge success. The book topped out at 430 on the Kindle bestsellers list and has stayed strong on three genre lists. Since its launch, it has sold almost 1,400 copies. Insane!

How does this translate to income? Right now I’m averaging 100 sales per day at $.99, which translates to about $35 in income. To earn the same amount, I’d have to sell only 17 books at $2.99. Shocking difference.

I don’t regret the $.99 price at all. It provides visibility on Amazon, which is basically free advertising, and one of my goals with the book is to hook readers on my series. I want them to love my characters as much as I do, and to fall in love, they have to be first willing to try a new author. I’m wooing people, I hope.

Final Analysis
My goal has always been to sell good books at competitive prices. I’m not trying to make a million dollars, but I would like to make a living wage. So I am searching for the best balance of attracting readers and profit, and that means finding the price point where highest number of readers meets highest royalty. I just have no idea where that is, and my guess is that it changes based on genre.

So will I experiment with the price? Yes. My overall goal is to make a living writing good books, and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do that. I cannot be afraid to look for the best price point and try different strategies. But there is a lot of fallacious thinking out there. Some believe that once you drop off a bestseller list, you can’t ever get the momentum back. That’s just not true. I’ve watched books rise and fall and rise again. So even if I make a mistake, it doesn’t spell doom.

If you want more info on pricing, go here.

4 thoughts on “Numbers: July

  1. I think that it is important as a new author to make a lot of sales and get the books into as many hands as possible. Then (I am assuming the readers liked them) when they see your name on the next book they are willing to spend the money to buy them at full price. When my mother was alive we used to go to a massive used book sale put on by Planned Parenthood and would buy several hundred books- many by authors we hadn’t read- we did not mind trying an unknown when it was a bargain. Those authors we liked we would then buy more books from. The Kindle $0.99 and the occasional special free books are a similar idea- periodically I scan through the free Kindle books or I hear about special pricing on something, like Sourcebooks’s free illustrated Jane Austens on JA’s birthday. Some people do something similar in the JA genre with posting excerpts or short stories online. I haven’t done this because you can get a sample of the book on Amazon and I don’t want to give away my short stories for free- if I am offered the chance to be in an anthology, they will not take stories that have already been posted online. Anyway, I still think you are the marketing goddess and I will continue to kneel at your feet and learn!

  2. Well, I don’t know about all this marketing goddess business, but I do try. I’ve made some mistakes and stuck my foot in my mouth a few times, but overall, I feel good about my progress.

    I’m glad you seem to approve of the $.99 loss leader type idea and seen evidence of its success because I’ve waffled all over the place, and that was just today! I *think* I’m going to stick with my current plan and see how it goes. Part of experimenting is change and part is riding something out. It’s hard to know when to do what.

    I’m babbling.

  3. Wow- I’m so impressed by your numbers. I’m new and am not getting anywhere near those numbers.

    Great site! If you’d like to an interview on mine – please let me know! (it’s focused on the overall kindle publishing experience)

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